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Home > Ideas & Tips > Wallpaper Buying Guide - How-To Guides

Wallpaper Buying Guide - How-To Guides

All About Wallpaper Shop All Wallpaper

ALL ABOUT WALLPAPER

Once a marker of traditionalism, wallpaper is back with a contemporary twist. Give an old space a new look with wallpaper! Lowe's has all the info you need to make an informed choice right here, right now.

How To Hang Wallpaper

Download our handy set-by-step guide to prepping surfaces, measuring space, calculating paper quantity, matching patterns, and applying wallpaper. You can't go wrong with these easy-to follow instructions! But first, make sure you have all the supplies you need. Depending on the type of wallpaper you're applying, you will need some or all of the following:

THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU MAKE YOUR WALLPAPER PURCHASE:

THE SIZE OF YOUR SPACE

THE SIZE OF YOUR SPACE.

Make sure you buy the right quantity of wallpaper sheets for the space you intend to cover. Head over to our handy wallpaper calculator to enter all the dimensions and find out exactly how much you'll need to buy.

try The Wallpaper Calculator
LOT AND DYE NUMBER

LOT AND DYE NUMBER.

When a specific colour of a wallpaper is run by a wallpaper press, it is assigned a "run" or "lot" number. If you run short of wallpaper to complete your job, try to get the same run number in order to ensure an exact colour match. If you can't get the same run number, just make sure that your new batch of wallpaper is kept on a single wall (ie. avoid hanging two different runs side by side).

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WALLPAPER PREP: TIPS AND TRICKS

Remove all non-permanent switch plates, outlet plates and wall fixtures. Remember to disconnect the source of electricity when removing any type of electrical obstacle.

Make sure the wall surface you're wallpapering is clean, dry, structurally sound and free of mildew, grease, or other stains.

Any markings with substances like pen ink, lipstick, or crayon should be removed with a stain-killing primer/sealer to prevent the marks from bleeding through the wallpaper.

Remove mildew from walls with a solution of two cups household bleach per gallon of water. Rinse and allow to dry. Take care to eliminate or seal any sources of moisture, such as wall cracks, in order to prevent new mildew growth.

Remove any loose paint from the wall. Sand glossy and semi-gloss paint in order to dull the surface. Apply a coat of adhesion-promoting primer prior to the wallpaper.

Correct wall irregularities with spackling, drywall compound, or other repair materials.

HOW TO REMOVE EXISTING WALLPAPER

Do you want to replace existing wallpaper? Have you moved into a pre-owned space where unwanted wallpaper lives on the walls? Follow these simple steps to safely and easily remove wallpaper of all types. Once you get those walls bare, you can start fresh with the wallpaper of your choice.

IDENTIFY YOUR WALL TYPE:

Plaster is found mostly in homes that are more than 50 years old. These walls are more solid and sound dull if you knock on them. Drywall has been used in homes for the past 50 years or so. Drywall is more delicate than plaster so be careful not to damage the cardboard surface when using a wallpaper scraping tool.

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DO THE PREP WORK:

Remove everything from your walls (pictures, mirrors, other decorative objects). Remove as much furniture as possible; cover the rest with dropcloths. Place old towels up against the baseboards and cover them with dropcloths taped to the baseboards (this will protect your floors).

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TO REMOVE STRIPPABLE WALLPAPER

Newer wallpapers are strippable, which means they can easily be removed without water or chemicals. If you know the wallpaper you are trying to remove was hung in recent years, you may be in luck. Here is how to check:

Step 1: At a corner or seam near the bottom of the wall, use a putty knife to pry the edge of the wallcovering. If it pulls away easily and keeps coming up as you pull, you have strippable wallpaper and your job should be easy.

Step 2: To remove the paper, simply grab the lower corner of a strip and pull it away until both corners of the strip are free. Then hold the bottom edge with both hands and pull until the whole strip is off the wall. Repeat all the way around the room.

Step 3: If the paper is stubborn, you can help it along by using a razor knife. Hold the knife perpendicular to the wall and make a series of horizontal strips about 10 inches apart. Then loosen the section of paper and pull it free with your fingers.

STRIPPING WALLPAPER WITH WATER:

You'll need a liquid stripper concentrate. Mix it according to the manufacturer's directions, and apply the mixture to your walls with a broad brush or a sprayer. Work from top to bottom, one section at a time.

Don't try to tackle such a large area that the paper dries before you have a chance to remove it. Let the paper soak for a few minutes; then start stripping it away with a scraper. Sometimes, you will find old paper that just will not absorb water. When this happens, scuff the surface with coarse sandpaper or a scoring tool to allow the water to soak into the paper. Once it is thoroughly soaked, apply the wetting agent twice more and let it soak for 30 minutes. You will know it is ready when you can scrape off pieces with your fingernail.

Remember to wear gloves and googles when you are dealing with chemicals.

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REMOVING PEELABLE WALLPAPER:

Some wallpapers are peelable, which means that they have a top coat which comes off just like strippable paper. Once you have peeled off the top vinyl coat, you will have the backing left. Follow directions for stripping with water to remove the backing. Do not leave the backing on, even if it is in good condition.


REMOVING WASHABLE WALLPAPER:

Washable wallpaper is easy to clean, but a little harder to remove. You must break through the plastic film that covers the paper in order for water to penetrate the paper. Use a scoring tool to create holes in the wallpaper. Use a spray bottle to soak the paper. Spray water into the slits so it can work its way behind the covering. Wait about 10 minutes and then scrape off the paper with a putty knife.

Buy A Scoring Tool Buy A Spray Bottle

Steam Removal

The last resort for removing wallpaper is to steam-strip. This job is strenuous because you must steam and strip at the same time. You might want to ask a friend for help. A steamer uses boiling water to soften the glue between the wallpaper and the wall. If you are removing vinyl-coated wallpaper with a steamer, you still have to use a scoring tool to punch holes in the paper so the steam can reach the glue. Rent a steamer instead of purchasing one, since this is not a job you will do very often. Carefully read the manufacturer's directions, as they may vary from machine to machine.

Basically, the process works this way:

  • Make sure the power is off.
  • Pour warm water into the reservoir.
  • Turn on the machine and wait for the water to boil.
  • With your goggles and gloves on, place the stripper's steam pad firmly on the wallpaper for about 30 seconds. Move the pad and you should see loose paper. Remove the paper with a scraper.
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